This animation depicts the proposed test flight of the Orion spacecraft in 2014. During the test, which is called Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), Orion will launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., perform two orbits, reaching an altitude higher than any achieved by a spacecraft intended for human use since 1973, and then will re-enter and land in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of the United States. Narration by Jay Estes, Deputy for flight test integration in the Orion program.
0:02 This is Jay Estes, I am a deputy for flight test integration in the Orion program.
0:07 What you see here is a Delta 4 heavy booster being launched from the pad.
0:13 This is a flight test that Orion is going to conduct in 2014.
0:18 It is a Delta 4 heavy unmanned booster with two strap-on boosters on the side.
0:25 Once we get through first stage, the strap-on boosters separate themselves and the central core continues on as a second stage.
0:33 Once we get to low Earth orbit, the second stage shuts down and separates itself from the spacecraft and the upper stage.
0:40 At that point the upper stage lights, and takes us on to orbit, the service module panels separate, and the launch abort system with its shroud, which has been covering the capsule, comes off.
0:54 In low Earth orbit, which is about 250 miles above the Earth, we make one orbit, and this orbit lets us check out our systems.
1:07 After one orbit, we ignite the upper stage and we lift the orbit to about 3600 miles.
1:14 Now 3600 miles is approximately 10 times higher than any man-rated spaceship has been since 1972 when we came back from the moon.
1:24 And the reason we are doing this is to test our heat shield on reentry.
1:29 The heat shield will be exposed to heating much like you would get from the moon,
1:33 and we will be able to demonstrate that our heat shield is sufficient for recovering people from missions beyond Earth.
1:41 And as we begin to enter, the capsule then separates from the service module section.
1:49 The service module section stays attached to the upper stage,
1:53 and here you see the control jets that are firing... control the altitude for entry.
1:59 As we enter, we experience maximum heating lower in the atmosphere.
2:06 This is the primary test of Exploration Flight Test 1, is that heat shield.
2:12 As we get low in the atmosphere, the forward bay cover come off, which covers the parachutes, and two small chutes come out to slow us down.
2:26 After we slow down those separate, three small pilot chutes come out to open the main parachutes, which initially open at about three percent opening.
2:36 Then they go to ten percent open. Then they go to full open.
2:41 We use those on staging the keep the forces on the chutes lower.
2:45 It makes for a softer ride and it keeps our chutes safe.
2:49 We enter the water at a slight angle, to help the crew with the impact of the water.
2:56 The parachutes fall in the water, we hope to recover those.
2:59 We are cooperating with the Navy, and using one of their well deck ships to recover our capsule.
3:06 This Orion after this spaceflight will be refurbished and used again on an ascent abort test in the future.